NASCAR Cup Series
Starting Lineup: NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona
Aug 25, 2023
All four Stewart-Haas Racing drivers will roll from inside the top-10 starting spots in Saturday's NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Chase Briscoe scored the second pole of his career, and he'll be joined by Aric Almirola on the front row.
Qualifying certainly doesn't guarantee success in the race in superspeedway racing, but Stewart-Haas Racing scored a massive victory from a mental standpoint heading into Saturday night's NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 regular-season finale at Daytona International Speedway.
All four of the Stewart-Haas Racing drivers will start the event from inside the top-10.
Chase Briscoe, who pilots the No. 14 Ford Mustang for SHR, will roll from the pole, as he secured his second-career pole position with a lap time of 49.499 seconds / 181.822 mph in the final round of Friday's qualifying session. For the racer, it's an honor to be on the pole at the World Center of Racing.
"It's exciting," Briscoe said. "I mean, to be on the pole at Daytona is special no matter what car you're driving. It's cool for me to be able to say I'm leading the field to green in a Cup race at Daytona. It's a pretty cool thing to be able to say. It's a testament, honestly, to everybody at Stewart-Haas -- all of the men and women."
Briscoe, 28, comes into the weekend 31st in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings, but a win on Saturday night could flip the script of his entire season. Likewise, his teammate Aric Almirola could do the same.
"It's been no secret, it's been a rough season for us," Briscoe said of the 2023 season for SHR. "To have all four cars in the top-10, and to lock out the front row is super important for us, and a good turning point. Hopefully, one of us can win tomorrow, and hopefully it's me, obviously. But just a really good day for the company."
Almirola, who many have speculated could retire at season's end, will lineup alongside Briscoe on the front row in Saturday's race. The driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang has two top-10s this season, and ranks 25th in the championship standings, but if he can win on Saturday night, none of that will matter.
Harrison Burton, Bubba Wallace, and Ty Gibbs will start in positions three through five.
For Wallace, he currently holds a 32-point advantage over Gibbs for the final Playoff berth position. However, Wallace can't rest on his points lead, especially with the entire top-five of the starting lineup being comprised of drivers that can bump into the Playoff field with a win.
Riley Herbst, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Ryan Preece, and Kevin Harvick will round out the top 10 of the starting lineup for Saturday night's Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona.
Here are some other notable drivers (and their qualifying positions), who come into this weekend needing a victory in order to advance to the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs: Austin Cindric (16th), AJ Allmendinger (17th), Austin Dillon (21st), Daniel Suarez (22nd), Chase Elliott (23rd), and Alex Bowman (31st).
While the Playoffs transfer spot will be the main focal point of this weekend's NASCAR Cup Series event, the regular-season championship is still up for grabs as well. Heading into the race, Martin Truex Jr. holds a beefy, but not insurmountable, 39-point advantage over his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.
Truex will start the race from the 13th starting spot, while Hamlin will chase the regular-season championship lead from the 19th starting position.
Photo Credit: Matthew T. Thacker, NKP, Courtesy of Ford Performance